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Artwork by Swabna Shanmugiavelayutham, CMS ’20

An abstract painting in the style of Pablo Picasso's "Guernica," showing scenes and objects from a medical student's life

Artist’s Statement: 

Approaching the end of my medical school training, I wanted to create a piece that conveyed something of my, and I suspect many others, experiences these last few years and foreshadowed some of the challenges we may face up ahead. The style, tableau and title are a nod to Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” a painting depicting a devastating bombing of the namesake city by Nazis during the Spanish Civil War. While I would never presume to equate medical school to the trauma of war, I would respectfully imitate the mood conveyed by Picasso in his famous work here in the hopes of drawing attention to the challenges — personal, professional and psychological — wrought by medical training. 

Drawn on paper, redesigned and colored using the PENUP application.


Artwork by Swabna Shanmugiavelayutham, CMS ’20

Ink and watercolor painting of a rainbow-colored human face in profile, combined with the black branches of a purkinje cell

Artist’s Statement: 

I was inspired by Santiago Ramon y Cajal’s drawings of purkinje cells. Their simplistic beauty comes forth in his work and I wanted to pay homage to him while also adding my own take. In this piece, I hope to allude to the creativity, humanity and soul behind the biological concepts that we learn about in medical school. 

Pen and ink, painted using watercolor brush on PENUP application.

To read a non-fiction essay by Swabna, check out the 2018 volume of Synapses.